{Slow Cooker} BBQ Chicken Quinoa Sloppy Joes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 sandwiches

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I have a thing for saucy, meaty sandwiches. Bread, meat and sauce.

barbecue chicken quinoa sloppy joes on open bun on white plate with pickles

Since I made these BBQ Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes, I’ve been a little disappointed with their lack of popularity.

Maybe that sounds totally selfish, but it’s not that. It’s just because I know how absolutely, incredibly delicious they are, and I feel like people are really missing out.

For the last month or so I’ve really been thinking about doing a chicken and quinoa version.

I am just as inexperienced with cooking quinoa as I was with cooking lentils, but I figured things couldn’t go too wrong if I knew the correct amount of liquid for the quinoa to cook in the slow cooker.

bbq chicken quinoa sloppy joes on white plate closed bun

It turns out quinoa and lentils require the same amount of liquid to cook, so my job was pretty easy.

I made a couple other changes to try to make the recipe a bit healthier. I took out the brown sugar completely, but found that I had to increase the barbecue sauce a bit in its place. I halved the salt and used a shredded carrot instead of a zucchini.

If you want to make this even healthier, you could sub the ketchup for crushed tomatoes (keeping in mind you’ll lose some of the sweetness from the ketchup), and use a light barbecue sauce or one with less sugar.

We love this version just as much as the beef and lentil! You really wouldn’t believe how much healthy stuff you can sneak into some good old sloppy joes until you try.

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{Slow Cooker} BBQ Chicken Quinoa Sloppy Joes

5 from 2 votes
{Slow Cooker} BBQ Chicken Quinoa Sloppy Joes: a lighter, healthier version of an old favorite. Packed with protein! www.thereciperebel.com
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 8 sandwiches
Calories 234cal


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup quinoa dry
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium-large carrot shredded
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 pinches crushed red pepper


  • In a medium pan, fry chicken over medium-high heat until cooked, stirring regularly. When chicken is browned, add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion starts to soften. Add to the slow cooker.
  • Add the dry quinoa to the pan and toast over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until toasted. Add to the slow cooker.
  • Add water through crushed red pepper to the slow cooker (all remaining ingredients) and stir well. Scrape down the sides to make sure the quinoa is in the liquid.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Serve on buns or rolls of your choice.


*Using different brands or slightly different ingredients will affect the nutrition information for the recipe.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 234cal | Protein: 13.5g | Fat: 7.2g | Saturated Fat: 1.8g | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 13g

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


    • Ashley Fehr says

      I would cook everything in the same order, in the same amounts, but your cook time will be significantly less. It will take maybe 15 minutes (give or take) for the quinoa to cook on the stove top.

  1. Ash says

    I made these last night and I really didn’t like the flavor. I followed the recipe almost exactly, just added some extra paprika and cumin. The texture is great, but it is WAY too sweet. I would definitely substitute some of the ketchup for crushed tomatoes. With bread/a bun the sloppy joe filling is ok, but I usually like to eat some plain too. Without bread it’s almost inedible to me.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Everyone has different tastes! Sloppy joes are generally made with a sweeter sauce, but you can definitely swap out some of the ketchup for the crushed tomatoes. This is how we like it!

  2. Dan says

    Hi, this looks really good. I’m curious about cooking the chicken before putting in the slow cooker. Is this a necessary step for health/killing bacteria purposes or is it about taste/texture? Thanks!

    • Ashley says

      You know, I’ve never added raw ground meat to a slow cooker before. It should cook fine, because you can cook all kinds of raw chicken in the slow cooker. So it must be a texture/flavor thing. I would be worried about the ground chicken cooking into a big lump or not having that great browned flavor. Raw chicken will also release some juices, so it would probably make your sloppy joes a little runnier? Hope that helps!

  3. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Ashley! I think slow cookers are becoming a “new” thing lately, which is good! I used mine all the time when my kids were little and I was working full time. A few weeks ago was the first time I’d tried quinoa (I’m a little behind the times). I made red bell stuffed peppers using homemade chorizo and quinoa and wow were they good! I don’t use mine as often these days since I’m retired, but there are some nights when I’m glad I did. Another plus, no pots and pans to wash! We love sloppy joes and these will be on my list for the next sloppy joe night!

    • Ashley says

      They are definitely becoming popular again! I just love mine because it means I don’t have to run around when it’s dinner time. I’m pretty new to quinoa too, but it blends in nicely with the ground chicken!

  4. Steph @Table For One says

    Ashley, these look fantastic! I love the addition of quinoa; what a great idea! Can’t wait to try these!

  5. Sherri @ The Well Floured Kitchen says

    Thus is such a creative combination! I love quinoa and never would have thought to put it in a sloppy joe! This looks delicious so I know people will really get behind this one 🙂 (also going to check out that lentil one..love new ways to eat lentils)

  6. Mary Frances says

    It’s always a bummer when stuff that is so good doesn’t fly. I think it’s because sloppy joes aren’t winning any food beauty pageants 🙂 but you have me SOLD. I <3 BBQ and chicken so sneaking in that quinoa is genius. I have never worked with lentils or quinoa and I'm changing that asap!

  7. Allison says

    I’ve actually never had a sloppy joe in my life! I’m vegetarian, so I may have to play around with a chickpea version. Love the use of quinoa in here! Looks so cozy.

  8. Isadora @ she likes food says

    I feel the same way about some of my recipes, haha! It can be so frustrating when you know just how delicious something is! I love the idea of adding quinoa to these! I don’t necessarily like quinoa a lot more than rice, but it is so much easier for me to cook so I put it in everything 🙂

5 from 2 votes

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